The Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday I had a cataract removed from my right eye.  Sooner or later this will happen to everyone–it is one of the joys of modern medicine that the poor vision/blindness that once affected virtually everyone as they aged is now solved with a 15 minute operation.

Kaiser has quite a system set up for cranking people through.  From leaving the house to return was a few minutes under 3 hours.  Their facility in Martinez is a friendly, courteous, well-oiled, very careful assembly line of optical care.  Their obsession on being correct extended to the ophthalmologist writing his initials over my RIGHT eye to ensure operating on the correct one.

initials.JPG

Dr. Daniel Levinsohn’s inscription to ensure accuracy

They rolled me into the OR.  Once again, the doctor announced to the team my name, Kaiser number, the reason for the operation and the fact that it was the RIGHT eye.  Every single team member had to respond “I agree” before they could proceed.  There are no mistakes in this process.

15 minutes later, they rolled me back. My eye was covered with a clear plastic patch, just to keep accidents from happening.  Even at that point, I could see!! The improvement was immediate and dramatic.

A few minutes later we were on our way home, as I marveled at the things I could now see.  Over the course of the next week, the doctor tell me that my vision will continue to improve.  I no longer need a contact lens in my right eye.

With the aid of photoshop, I’ve tried to come up with a way to describe the effects of having, then not having, a cataract.

This is approximately what I can see out of my left eye, which I have been using for everything for months.

cataractleft

This is what things looked like out of my right eye up until Wednesday morning:

cataractright

That’s pretty bad.  I couldn’t read with just this eye.  Driving at night was distinctly unpleasant.

Here’s what I see now with my right eye and the new lens:

nocataract

Just magnificent.

It will be a year or three before my left eye deteriorates enough for me to have the same surgery on it.  You don’t often hear people say they are looking forward to an operation, but I can’t wait.

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